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Health and Safety Issues while volunteering abroad
Safety is the major concern while travelling abroad. It is more important when it comes to volunteering abroad. An obvious question, “if i will be safe” always comes up if you are going to a place which is unknown to you. Volunteering abroad can be exciting, at the same time it could be dangerous if not prepared with proper precautions because you are getting out of your place which is comfort zone for you. Though there is small chance of happening something bad, you must be prepared to take any circumstances whatsoever that comes up during your volunteering overseas.
Following are some precautions you must consider to safely volunteer abroad:
Choose a safe destination
If safety is your major concern while volunteering abroad, then you must first consider if the country is safe with relation to other country. Check if, the country you are going is having any kind of war or political instability. Usually, volunteer organizations halt their programs during such emergencies. However, a proper research before leaving for the program is essential to ensure your safety during the program.
Use an established organization
Unestablished or newly established organization can be poorly organized. So, to ensure everything will go smoothly you should go with an established organization for your volunteering program. To find out how to select best volunteer organization please refer to the section 7 of our guidebook - How to select best volunteer abroad organization?
Volunteer with a friend or in a group
Volunteering with a friend or group volunteering is always a good idea when it comes to volunteer abroad where the place and people almost unknown to you. It can help you a lot with sharing your ideas as well as problem you may face during the volunteer program.
You must stay connected with you family and friends back in home, so that they could know about you and your safety. Staying connected with the in-county staff or the staff of volunteer organization can help you with problems and issues. They are there to provide you with support and assistance you need during your volunteering abroad. You must get a list of possible emergency numbers like, police, medical/hospital, support staff to stay connected when in need.
Register with your embassy
If your country has embassy in the country you are volunteering, you might want to register with them to for the time you are abroad. This ensure that they will know if anything happen to one of their citizen is inside the country.
Protect your money and other valuable things
Carrying a lot of cash and valuable things like gadgets, ornaments or flaunt your cash very visibly is not a good idea. You will stand out as a tourist and people may have a thought that every person form western world is wealthy and can have bad intentions over you.
What happens if I fall sick?
When it comes to volunteer abroad safety, you might think what will happen if I get sick? It is not very uncommon to fall sick while volunteering abroad, because of the stress of travelling, specially internationally. You will be exposed to different weather/climate, new water, new bugs/insects and so on. It is also obvious to get exposed to various germs and bacteria when you travel abroad or volunteer abroad, which can possibly get you sick.
But, don't worry because most of the volunteer abroad programs operate near city. So, there will be clinics/hospital just nearby you. You should get all necessary numbers so that you can contact when needed. Some places also have special medical services for tourists, so check for it as well.
But, if you program is operating is remote area then you should ask your program coordinator or volunteer organization about the medical services available to you there. You may be taking prescription medication which may not be available in your host country. So, it is always a best idea to get extra medication with you in such case.
Do I need travel insurance?
Travel insurance is very important while volunteering abroad. You will definitely need to have a travel insurance to got to volunteer abroad. Make sure that your travel insurance covers different services in case of emergency like, medical and evacuation coverage, coverage on damage to electronics, coverage on adventure activities, and more. You also can customize the insurance to get just what you want.
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